Skip Navigation

Global Environmental Change and Food Systems

A food-secure future for those most vulnerable

to environmental stress.


Global Environmental Change and Food Systems (GECAFS) was an international, interdisciplinary research project which focussed on understanding the links between food security and global environmental change.

The GECAFS Goal was to determine strategies to cope with the impacts of global environmental change on food systems and to assess the environmental and socio-economic consequences of adaptive responses aimed at improving food security.

GECAFS was launched at the Amsterdam Open Science Conference in 2001 as a 10-year Joint Project of IGBP, IHDP and WCRP (now partners in ESSP). GECAFS closed on 31 March 2011.

A synthesis of GECAFS and related work Food Security and Global Environmental Change, edited by John Ingram, Polly Ericksen and Diana Liverman, has been published by Earthscan. The book provides a major, accessible synthesis of the current state of knowledge and thinking on the relationships between GEC and food security, and reviews methods and approaches for addressing this complex research agenda. A free PDF download (8Mb) of the entire book is available and click here for further information and to order a copy. Many other GECAFS products can be found on the publications page.

Latest News

Food access in a changing climate, a recently published report which links the latest climate change projections with demographic trends in the context of food security. The report is the product of a short term project commissioned by UK Defra, undertaken by GECAFS and written by Rebecca White, Beth Stewart and Patricia O’Neill of the University of Oxford.

New, Most Comprehensive Program to Date Seeks to Ensure
Food Security Is Not Crippled by Climate Change

The Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) Program is a major collaborative endeavour between the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP). The Program was formally launched on 4 December at the Agriculture and Rural Development Day at COP16.

3 December 2010: Diana Liverman, GECAFS Chair, took part in the ICSU-ESSP Side Event 'Emerging scientific findings and ongoing dialogue with the research community' at UNFCCC COP16 in Cancun, Mexico.

November 2010: The Academy of Social Sciences and The British Psychological Society have launched a report Making the Case for the Social Sciences - Sustainability, the Environment and Climate Change. The report includes an article (p24) by Diana Liverman (GECAFS Chair) about climate change and food security.

Following on from the September 2009 conference Four degrees and beyond, a Theme Issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A has been published. Four degrees and beyond: the potential for a global temperature increase of four degrees and its implications has been compiled and edited by Mark G. New, Diana M. Liverman (GECAFS Chair), Richard A. Betts, Kevin L. Anderson and Chris C. West. The papers in this Theme Issue were written by participants in the Four degrees conference, at the invitation of the editors. Contributors include Polly Ericksen who coauthored 'agriculture and food systems in sub-Saharan Africa in a 4°C+ world'.

GECAFS is featured in the latest UNESCO-SCOPE-UNEP Policy Brief - No. 12 entitled Global environmental change and food security. The brief reviews current knowledge, highlight trends and controversies, and is a useful reference for policy planners, decision makers and stakeholders in the community.

14 October 2010: GECAFS is featured in the Financial Times supplement "Food Security" on page 72.

GECAFS Chair, Professor Diana Liverman, has been awarded the Royal Geographical Society's Founder's Medal, an award approved by Her Majesty the Queen, in recognition of her unique contribution to the understanding of the human dimensions of climate change. Click here for further information.

Date for the diary: Resilience 2011 will take place 11-16 March 2011 at Arizona State University, USA. The theme of the conference is Resilience, Innovation and Sustainability: Navigating the Complexities of Global Change.

The latest edition of the IHDP UPDATE magazine - Governance as a Crosscutting Theme in Human Dimensions Science features three articles by GECAFS:
- The GECAFS Synthesis
- Governing Food Systems in the Context of Global Environmental Change
- Adaptive Food Governance

Papers from the Food Security and Environmental Change Conference, April 2008, are now available online.

View presentations from the GECAFS high level Briefing on "Environmental Change and Food Security in the Indo-Gangetic Plains" (Delhi, India, 7 February 2009).

Four GECAFS Indo Gangetic Plain investigators have been awarded AusAID Australian Leadership Award Fellowship grants

Food Security and Environmental Change Conference

The conference summary report.

See most of the presentations from the international conference "Food Security and Environmental Change: Linking Science, Development and Policy for Adaptation" (Oxford, UK; 2-4 April 2008).

A selection of papers was published in June 2009 as a Special Issue of Environmental Science and Policy. Click here for an online version.

The full background to the conference can be found at

Top of Page